3 in 10 Plan to Borrow to Fund Christmas 2012

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Equifax research reveals the ways consumers plan to save on festive season costs.

According to the latest research* from Equifax, the leading instant online credit information provider, 3 in 10 consumers are planning to borrow money to fund the coming festive season.

As Neil Munroe, External Affairs Director, Equifax explains, there’s nothing wrong with that plan. “But it’s really important that consumers budget so that they can afford to pay off their debts as soon as possible in the New Year. Otherwise they could find Christmas 2012 hanging over them well into 2013 – and costing them a lot more than originally planned.

“Clearly the current economic climate is making balancing finances quite difficult for some families, and it’s understandable that they might want to put financial pressures at the back of their minds so that they can celebrate Christmas. But, with our research revealing that it took between 2 and 6 months for a quarter of consumers to pay off Christmas 2011 debts, it’s a concern that consumers already under financial pressure could be paying extra interest in 2013. And that’s especially the case considering that 1 in 10 consumers said they don’t budget for Christmas spending.”

The fragile state of UK consumer finances is also highlighted by the Equifax research, which found that nearly 65% of consumers have seen an increase in their monthly out-goings in 2012 and three quarters say they now have less disposable income than this time last year. “This could be another reason for any debt incurred for Christmas 2012 having an impact on finances well into 2013”, continued Neil Munroe. “Especially as nearly half of respondents to our survey said that they plan to spend the same or more than last year.”

When it comes to how much consumers plan to spend on their Christmas celebrations, just over 13% will be spending more than £500 although the same percentage plan to spend between just £100 and £150.

The research also provides a revealing insight into some of the steps that consumers are planning to take this year to save on the cost of the festivities, with over 13% planning to downsize on the turkey and 17% aiming to re-use unwanted presents. The enormous popularity of discount vouchers and retailer reward points also appear to be playing an important role in funding Christmas 2012 with half of respondents citing both of these as helping with festive finances.

How will you save on Christmas costs?

Use discount vouchers    51.57%
Cashing in retailer reward points    49.38%
Set smaller budgets for presents for family and friends    33.50%
Buy presents in the sales throughout the year    26.68%
Only have my Christmas lights on at night    21.53%
Stop buying presents to family/friends' children who are over 18    19.91%
Have Christmas dinner at home rather than eating out    19.46%
Reuse unwanted presents    17.39%
Give homemade presents    14.21%
Down-size my turkey    13.53%
Buy from Charity Shops    13.53%
Secret Santa - so only buy one gift per family group or friends    7.94%
Send e cards rather than use the post    7.27%
Not invite as many extended family for dinner    5.48%
Wait to see friends and family until after Christmas so you can buy their presents in the sales    2.40%

“Consumers can stay on top of their finances by getting a copy of their credit report which provides a valuable insight into their financial status and current credit agreements as well as enabling them to assess their ability to gain new credit”, concluded Neil Munroe.

The Equifax Credit Report is accessible for 30 days free simply by logging onto our website. If customers do not cancel before the end of the 30 Day Free Trial, the service will continue at £8.99 per month, giving them unlimited online access to their credit information and weekly alerts on any changes to their credit file. It also includes an online dispute facility to help them correct any errors on their credit file simply and quickly.

The Equifax app is available free from the Apple iTunes Store on iPhone and iPad and from Google Play for Androids.

*Equifax One Poll Christmas Survey 2012 - 2000 respondents - November 2012

About Equifax

Equifax is a global leader in consumer, commercial and workforce information solutions, providing businesses of all sizes and consumers with information they can trust. We organize and assimilate data on more than 500 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide, and use advanced analytics and proprietary technology to create and deliver customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Equifax operates or has investments in 18 countries and is a member of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500® Index.

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